This is a reasonably balanced article from the Globe and Mail. As a farmer and rural landowner, I have been somewhat concerned about the mantra coming out of the oil and gas industry that there is zero risk associated with fracking techniques. Finally the industry is starting to admit that there might be a problem with well casing cement and completion jobs.
“That’s the real issue that regulators should be focusing on – the integrity of well design and then the integrity of well completions,” said Paul Smith, executive vice-president of Calgary-based Talisman, a company that has placed big bets on shale gas development.
If anyone traces back my previous comments about this subject, that is exactly what I have been highlighting. The problem that we all need to focus on is poor quality cementing and completion of the wells. I continue to be dismayed as a rural land owner that the industry and government cannot get their act together to do baseline ground water surveys and testing before development starts. With each horizontal well and frack job costing several millions of dollars, surely there must be enough room in the budget to do a survey of ground water and establish a no-development baseline measure of water quality. In both the USA and Canada, perhaps what is required is a consistent national approach to regulation of the fracking sector. That approach would be preferred to forcing rural land owners to litigate energy developers.